Anyone that suffers with occupational skin conditions, know how much they can interfere with everyday life; Not only are they painful and uncomfortable, they often get you down and crush your confidence.
In my case, I have atopic eczema, which is extremely common nowadays. Eczema is a chronic condition that can be treated, but unfortunately not cured; this means that Eczema flare ups are common, and are likely to reoccur. I was continually getting patches of Eczema on my face, especially around my lips, nose and neck as well as smaller patches around my wrists and elbows and no matter what I did, they never budged. I spent my life in a cycle of treatments, slight improvements and then back to square one, until one day I decided I’d had enough.
In my quest to ditch eczema, I decided to buy the book ‘Eczema-Free for Life’ by Adnan Nasir. This book was a great eye opener for me as it allowed me to realise that although I was diagnosed with this condition as a baby, I still had no idea of why it happened and the science behind it. Although this book literally covers nearly every topic related to eczema, I am going to talk through the key things I learnt:
1. Diet has not been proven to be a trigger of Eczema flare-ups
2. Studies have shown that the rash does not occur, if it is not scratched. Scratching causes the rash, and when you continue to scratch the rash the skin cannot heal and itches more
3. Prevention is better than cure- the importance of a consistent skin care routine, patch tests and careful attention to skin changes
Considering these main factors, I made some changes. I started eating oil rich food products- more fish, avocado’s, olives etc… in attempt to hydrate my skin.
The second step I took was to stop itching! This is the most important tip I can give. I KNOW how difficult it is, honestly, but it changes your skin health dramatically and rapidly! Itching is bad for your skin, because when you scratch, you are damaging your skin barrier reducing the skins ability to heal and make it prone to infection. Do not be tempted to use a flannel, scrub, or exfoliate when your eczema is present, this will not help, and although it may reduce the dryness temporarily- it will make your skin red, aggravated and will take much longer to heal.
Thirdly, I completely changed my skin care routine and stripped back to the bare essentials. I bathe for no longer than 20 minutes and use anti-bacterial emollients rather than perfumed shower gels (I am gutted that I don’t get bubble baths anymore though!). I ensure that I pat my face and body dry and moisturise within 3 minutes (as this is when moisture from your bath is still in your skin) after 3 minutes water evaporates back into the air and you start resembling the sahara desert.
Unfortunately, it is a struggle to find moisturisers that work for you, it takes a lot of time and dedication, but my favourite moisturiser of all time is the Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion. It is Oatmeal based and is the only moisturiser I have used that soothes my skin rather than increase the itching! I use it on my face and body, and it works amazingly.
What to do if you have a current flare up:
- STOP ITCHING
- Keep clean
- Use prescribed cream on a flare up for the advised time- you need something strong to stop the broken skin becoming infected
- Moisturise whenever you can! All day, Every Day!
This is my every morning and evening routine to prevent eczema flare ups:
- Wash hands
- Smooth Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion for Dry Skin all over my face
- Use Cotton Wool gently to remove
- I continue steps 2 and 3 until there is no trace of make up left.
- I then splash my face with water and pat dry
- I then apply a small dollop of Aveeno moisturiser all over my face and massage into skin
- I then finish off by using hydrocortisone cream on any current eczema flare ups (skip this if they are minor)
- If any blemishes, use tea tree oil on specific area
- Finish off with a slick of Nivea Lip Butter on my lips (it lasts all night and is amazing at night time)
Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions or advice concerning Eczema, comment below. I would love to hear from you!